Quantcast
LCR Mixing - Gearspace.com
The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
LCR Mixing
Old 6th August 2009
  #1
Lives for gear
 
bgrotto's Avatar
LCR Mixing

So, just as we were on the verge of saving that trainwreck of a thread, things got outta hand again. I'd LOVE to hear some of Ken's thoughts on the subject of LCR (and, well, pretty much anythingheh), as well as bounce some ideas around with some of you other GS duders, so let's kick it off.

For those that don't know, LCR mixing refers to a style of mixing where there is no "in-between" panning; everything is either hard left, center, or hard right. This came from the consoles of the 70s' bussing schemes (specifically Neves and APIs, I believe), where your pan pot is switched in, meaning you have to press a button to engage it, and doing so affects the sound (generally in a negative way). Most engineers instead opted to use the buss matrix to assign the tracks to the "mix buss Left", "mix buss Right", or "mix buss Left and Right" (which would put in the Center).

Hope that made sense....anyway...

The approach requires a slightly different take on processing, including EQ, compression, reverb, everything really. I tend towards more mono verbs (usually panned center), and, if I'm summing ITB, I find myself using broader strokes in the lower midrange for more "glue".

There was some debate in the other thread about the amount of reverb, to which I contend you can use as little or as much as you want. To that end, I posted two clips, one was a power-pop/punk rock clip that was bone dry (save for some room mics), the other an urban pop tune; very big, with over 200 tracks and LOTS of varyingly-subtle reverbs, delays, and modulations effects.

I'll post em both to as a reference, and try to dig up some other appropriate (and legal-to-postheh) examples.

FYI - both clips are unmastered. They're also mp3s. Sorry, but I don't have wavs on my laptop. Both also contain some light limiting (2-3dB or so).

One thing I really like about LCR is the mono-compatibility. I do a LOT of my mixing in mono, and the objective is to be able to switch a stereo mix to mono and not hear any tonal change (balance changes are bound to happen, but they CAN be minimized a bit if you're clever...). LCR certainly aids in that. Whether any audience ever hears a mix in mono or not, mono-compatibility helps a lot with translation between different systems. Not to mention mono is also the default for YouTube, so if you're gonna make a video, it's a good thing to keep an eye/ear on. It's also necessary for that AM college radio action. Last, but not least (especially in the world of hip hop, R&B, and urban pop), club systems are typically mono, so compatibility is VERY important, especially for key elements of the track (kick, snares, basslines, vocals, etc).
Old 6th August 2009
  #2
Lives for gear
 
bgrotto's Avatar
Here's the punk rock number. Mixed ITB (for the sound and recallability), but with quite a bit of fancy hardware inserts. Everything's LCR.

One of the cool things about LCR is if you have a room mic, OHs, or some other ambient mic thing happening, it sorta pulls the close mic'd elements into the center so, for example, the toms don't sound quite so "Doink! Left!" and "Doink! Right!".
Old 6th August 2009
  #3
Gear Guru
 
rickrock305's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
well i posted it in the other thread, but i'll post again here.


i pan everything hard left, hard right, or right up the middle. every once in awhile I'll put some BG vox or layered elements in between. drums also get panned in the "in between" area, like hihats, cymbals, congas and bongos, etc.
Old 6th August 2009 | Show parent
  #4
Lives for gear
 
ryst's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by bgrotto ➑️
Here's the punk rock number. Mixed ITB (for the sound and recallability), but with quite a bit of hardware inserts.
Where are the tracks, Benny?
Old 6th August 2009 | Show parent
  #5
Lives for gear
 
bgrotto's Avatar
And, the other tune. Started this mix ITB, but once I got it sorta going, I stemmed it out onto the desk. There's a lot of different reverbs, delays, and modulation effects happening here.

This tune uses a sort of modified, non-purist LCR technique. In particular, for hip-hop style drums (where there's lots of shakers and other percussive elements that sound funny hard-panned, as Rick Rock mentioned), I like to build the rhythm section, or "core" of the mix LCR, and fill in some of the blanks with "in-between" panning. It's a sort of best-of-both-worlds approach, IMO.
Old 6th August 2009 | Show parent
  #6
Lives for gear
 
bgrotto's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ryst ➑️
Where are the tracks, Benny?
Sorry...GS server error...I'm workin' on it!!!

EDIT: Done, aaaaand...DONE!heh
Old 6th August 2009 | Show parent
  #7
Lives for gear
 
bgrotto's Avatar
Also, I can't post any tracks from the record, but if you'd like to hear some more, go find some tunes off of folk artist Tony Furtado's "Deep Water" album. I mixed that record on an old Tweed desk, which used the switched pan/buss assignment thingy I was talking about above, so everything's LCR.

(you can also hear me playing drums on that one!!!heh)
Old 6th August 2009 | Show parent
  #8
Lives for gear
 
ryst's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I'll share too. This is a track I mixed recently:

NastyN8 - Mix Reel - "Roll Up" - SoundCloud

I usually pan LCR. In this case with the sparse arrangement, especially with the synths, I went 68L on the "warp" synth track and it was essentially doubled (aux send) and filtered (smaller) and the other track was panned hard right and 68R on the "whistle" track . I also didn't pan the HH tracks hard either. One was 32R and the other was 82L.

I also automated a pan/delay effect on the snare at the end of every hook. I found that if i panned it too wide, it became more distracting. But other than that everything else was hard panned LCR. Even the "hype man" track was hard panned back and forth on every phrase.

I'm no mixing engineer compared to benny...but I try.
Old 6th August 2009 | Show parent
  #9
Lives for gear
 
bgrotto's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ryst ➑️

I'm no mixing engineer compared to benny...but I try.
Whatever. If I could get the kinda bottom end you get, I'd be a much happier man...
Old 6th August 2009
  #10
Lives for gear
 
Alxi's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by bgrotto ➑️
So, just as we were on the verge of saving that trainwreck of a thread, things got outta hand again. I'd LOVE to hear some of Ken's thoughts on the subject of LCR (and, well, pretty much anythingheh), as well as bounce some ideas around with some of you other GS duders, so let's kick it off.
Did i miss something ??
Can't seem to find that thread.

I'll come back tomrrow to listend to the exemples

-Alxi-
Old 6th August 2009 | Show parent
  #11
Lives for gear
 
ryst's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by bgrotto ➑️
Whatever. If I could get the kinda bottom end you get, I'd be a much happier man...
Are you referring to the mix I just posted?

Whatever back......


heh
Old 6th August 2009 | Show parent
  #12
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alxi ➑️
Did i miss something ??
Can't seem to find that thread.

I'll come back tomrrow to listend to the exemples

-Alxi-

Trust me dude you really dont!! i wasted precious time of my life reading through all that BS. . Any way im not tryin to bring that in this thread. I would like to hear Kens knowledge as wellheh
Old 6th August 2009 | Show parent
  #13
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
For Rock music this technique is nothing new to me (the term LCR mixing is new to me though). Never gave much thought to mixing strictly like that for other types of genres. I will have to give it a shot on my next mix. Good thread.
Old 6th August 2009 | Show parent
  #14
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Interesting stuff! Seeing as vinyl was the dominant format in those times, is the bass usually smack in the center to prevent grooves on the record being too wide? Are there any standard or rules of thumb approaches to which instruments remain in the centre?
Old 6th August 2009 | Show parent
  #15
Lives for gear
 
aof21's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by SubtoneAudio ➑️
Are there any standard or rules of thumb approaches to which instruments remain in the centre?
kick, snare (although it's getting quite popular to layer and pan hard right / left here as well) main vocal, bass. I think 90% (or more) of mainstream popular music of all genres you'll find those things living mainly in the center. I think you're generally considered pretty avant-garde if you pan your kick drum or main vocal hard left or right, again, only speaking about modern, mainstream popular music. A lot of old jazz recordings you'll hear the whole drumset is panned hard left and maybe the lead instrument hard right or something like that.
Old 6th August 2009 | Show parent
  #16
Lives for gear
 
Storyville's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
There are adapted standards, but certainly rules are meant to be broken. Low end has an omni directional sort of sound, so when it isn't in the center it tends to throw off the balance pretty hard. Snares tend to end up center along with vocals because they attract so much attention.

I honestly don't get down with LCR. However, ITB panning is not perfect in my mind either. The problem with ITB panning is that our ear tends to hear in extremes on speakers, you don't really pick up the subtle panning nuances as well as with headphones. On top of that, you are getting a volume difference which doesn't quite seem to correlate to a spatial difference. However stereo mic captures tend to pick up a very honest sense of spatial location and depth and I find THAT translates very well to the non Left-Center-Right pan scheme. Even one xy pick up in the room can allow for more nuanced panning to translate to speakers much more clearly.

The pop punk one I think works pretty well, but as a personal taste thing the uber dry vocals aren't doing it for me.

The funfair song, I am quite familiar with . Heard it several times at different stages. I think LCR is helpful in this mix because, it helps the mix sound open, even though there are... what.... one hundred ninety five tracks playing simultaneously (something like that). I don't think I would have started LCR - or if I did go that route, I might move a few things in to fill it in a bit - as I'm starting to enjoy a more concentrated sound. But the reverb sound really does resonate well in this one.

My main qualm with LCR style is that it sounds mono to me.... if you follow. It's not really a stereo field. It always seems to lack a bit of depth - which I think is glossed over in the funfair because the action is so fast and the reverb is so rich.
Old 6th August 2009 | Show parent
  #17
Lives for gear
 
phillysoulman's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
In most cases,Im a LCR kind of guy.
Old 6th August 2009 | Show parent
  #18
Lives for gear
 
Alxi's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ryst ➑️
I'll share too. This is a track I mixed recently:

NastyN8 - Mix Reel - "Roll Up" - SoundCloud
Sounds good to me Ryst. Nice Width

I guess i'm use to another approach cause i can seem to ear the kinda holes it leaves half way on each side.

Like Myams said in the Other Thread, i'm usualy a 0-15-30-45-60-75-90 kind of guy.

But i'm always willing to try new things if it helps me get better.

Interesting concept and discussion.

Glad you have started a new thread on this Bgrotto

I'm off to do some LCR experiments

-Alxi-

EDIT

Benny on your mix i ear a bit less of the holes

So i guess filling the holes with reverb returns, percusions elements is important for this technic. Also a nice width.

Ryst i have to take back what i said about the holes... i guess it's just the way that technic sounds
Old 6th August 2009 | Show parent
  #19
Lives for gear
 
bgrotto's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storyville ➑️
My main qualm with LCR style is that it sounds mono to me.... if you follow. It's not really a stereo field. It always seems to lack a bit of depth - which I think is glossed over in the funfair because the action is so fast and the reverb is so rich.
Interesting thoughts; I appreciate the intelligent input.

With regards to the quote above: remember, that Tony Furtado record (which I recall you mentioning, you loved the depth of) is all LCR. I think the lack of 3-dimensionality in the examples above is more a stylistic and/or production issue. It's meant to be an in-your-face bludgeoning of sound.heh

I wish I could post the Tony Furtado stuff, but it's a no-no. Here's Tony's CD Baby page: CDBaby | Tony Furtado | Deep Water. The tune "Bawds of Euphony" is a good example of what I'm talking about.

Alxi - regarding hearing the "holes" between hard-pans and the center, one thing I've found to keep in mind if you're trying an LCR mix for the first time (especially ITB) is to keep the lower mid range a bit fuller. It sorta keeps the sides "glued".

On the other hand, if you have elements that you want to appear extra-wide, thinning them out and hard panning them (and maybe some clever use of verb) can make them sound like they're coming from beyond the speaker.
Old 6th August 2009 | Show parent
  #20
Lives for gear
 
Alxi's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by bgrotto ➑️

Alxi - regarding hearing the "holes" between hard-pans and the center, one thing I've found to keep in mind if you're trying an LCR mix for the first time (especially ITB) is to keep the lower mid range a bit fuller. It sorta keeps the sides "glued".

On the other hand, if you have elements that you want to appear extra-wide, thinning them out and hard panning them (and maybe some clever use of verb) can make them sound like they're coming from beyond the speaker.
Thanks for the Tips
Old 6th August 2009 | Show parent
  #21
Lives for gear
 
bgrotto's Avatar
Here's a well-formed discussion over at the WOMB on the topic:

An Interesting Excerpt On L-C-R Mixing - The Womb

At the top of the first post (which is an excerpt from an article), there's another link the original article and more good stuff.
Old 6th August 2009 | Show parent
  #22
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
thread.... Very informative
Old 6th August 2009 | Show parent
  #23
Gear Guru
The only thing I've always wondered about LCR mixing is this... What if 2 people share headphones or earbuds... The other one won't be able to hear what's on the other side no?
Old 6th August 2009 | Show parent
  #24
Lives for gear
 
Silver Sonya's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Many of Nigel Godrich's mixes are LCR.

- c
Old 6th August 2009 | Show parent
  #25
Lives for gear
 
Silver Sonya's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrislago ➑️
The only thing I've always wondered about LCR mixing is this... What if 2 people share headphones or earbuds... The other one won't be able to hear what's on the other side no?
OH NO! WHATEVER WILL THEY DO?!?

- c
Old 6th August 2009 | Show parent
  #26
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
it's funny when i was growing up i thought i was crazy because my parents played a lot of motown and "classic rock" and i used to (obviously)
hear different things in each ear. i didn't like that it made me feel like those instruments/people were less important so i don't like to hard pan.
i rarely pan outside 75 on either side...
Old 6th August 2009 | Show parent
  #27
Gear Guru
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Sonya ➑️
OH NO! WHATEVER WILL THEY DO?!?

- c
Thanks for dumbing down my question, but it actually was a serious one. What about clubs?
Old 6th August 2009 | Show parent
  #28
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrislago ➑️
Thanks for dumbing down my question, but it actually was a serious one. What about clubs?
You have to double like crazy. That's what you do in rock. If you hard pan the rhythm guitar left, what do you put on the right? Another performance of the rhythm guitar part.

Call it "dual mono" or "double mono".

Someone summarized it well for dance here:
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/4366498-post4.html

Example:
Kick centre mono
Bass centre mono
Snare centre mono
Hi hats one left and one right double mono* example lft 76 and rght 76
Percussion Ditto or stereo (Or both mixed) lft 65 and rgt 65
Lead one left one right and one centre 3x mono* (+insert effect of your choice on lft+rght) lft+rght 30
Strings one left one right double mono* lft+rght 58

If everything is matched or well-balanced side to side, you can pan as hard as you like without losing mono compatibility.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SubtoneAudio ➑️
Interesting stuff! Seeing as vinyl was the dominant format in those times, is the bass usually smack in the center to prevent grooves on the record being too wide? Are there any standard or rules of thumb approaches to which instruments remain in the centre?
Actually I think if you go back to the 60s or so when variable panning was not an option, they did all sorts of crazy things with LCR, probably because they were still learning what works. Eg. all drums to the left, vocals to the right.

But I am not a music historian nor am I that old so I don't know. That's just what I've heard.
Old 6th August 2009 | Show parent
  #29
Lives for gear
 
bgrotto's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrislago ➑️
Thanks for dumbing down my question, but it actually was a serious one. What about clubs?
I thought I touched on that in my first post:

Quote:
Originally Posted by bgrotto ➑️
Last, but not least (especially in the world of hip hop, R&B, and urban pop), club systems are typically mono, so compatibility is VERY important, especially for key elements of the track (kick, snares, basslines, vocals, etc).
Barring that, take care to pan important elements Center, or, barring that, don't use LCR. It's not necessarily the last word in mix technique, just another tool to try out and use (or not).
Old 6th August 2009 | Show parent
  #30
Lives for gear
 
bgrotto's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mobius.media ➑️
Actually I think if you go back to the 60s or so when panning was an option, they did all sorts of crazy things with LCR, probably because they were still learning what works. Eg. all drums to the left, vocals to the right.

But I am not a music historian nor am I that old so I don't know. That's just what I've heard.
The records coming out of Abbey Road were panned that way because of their consoles' designs (simply put: channels 1 and 2 were hard-assigned to the L and R output of the desk, and intended for use with stereo orchestra recordings, channels 3 and 4 had pan pots and were designed to acccomodate positioning the spot mics of soloists in the orchestra).

When pop groups made stereo recordings (which was fairly unusual and seen by a lot of folks as something of a gimmick), the elements recorded to the first two tracks of 4-track tape were hard-panned upon playback through the desk.

I imagine the situation was similar at other studios.
πŸ“ Reply

Similar Threads

Thread / Thread Starter Replies / Views Last Post
replies: 55 views: 30572
Avatar for IM WHO YOU THINK
IM WHO YOU THINK 13th October 2020
replies: 15929 views: 1528635
Avatar for Ragan
Ragan 11th January 2019
replies: 1296 views: 178441
Avatar for heraldo_jones
heraldo_jones 1st February 2016
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearspace Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…

Forum Jump
Forum Jump